Posted by: Dawud Israel | December 1, 2011

Commentary on AHM’s Contentions: Spiritual Development

Bismillah, alhamdulilla, wa salat wasalam ala Rasulullah

Here is the second batch of commentary. I may edit and update these some more. I am beginning to think Abdal Hakim Murad week will last longer than 1 week! 🙂


51. Prayer shows us what we truly desire.
-When we start to make dua we begin to think and realize what we really want

11 Failing to pray for faith is a sign of lack of faith.
-Concern over one’s weak faith is a sign of faith is what the ulema and sufis always say
-The duas of the Sunnah often mention praying for strong iman and faith

100. ‘May I not prove too much of a skunk when I shall be tried.’ (Wittgenstein)
-A prayer we can modify to “Oh Allah, do not make me odious and wretched when You try me. Make me beloved to You when You try me.”

79. I am my weakness; You are my strength.
-The Qur’an mentions that Allah create man daifa, weak and he is full of anxiety but when that anxiety is for Allah and fear of Allah then it becomes our strength

81. A good prayer is from Him; a bad prayer is from us.
-Similar to the verse that good is from him and evil is from us

36. Stolen prayers are the sweetest.
-Being a collector of duas: the wisdom, attitudes and spiritual states you find in various duas of the righteous makes you grow

77. Let us pray, O Lord.
-How desperate is our state that we struggle to pray properly? That, we are at a point of confusion, formality and impairment in our prayers
-Dua is the essence of worship and to achieve that is no small thing but a blessing bestowed by God

-Elsewhere AHM mentions that there is no dhikr without consciousness

5. If there is no dhikr, there is no self-restraint. If there is no self-restraint, there is no beauty. If there is no beauty, there is no dhikr.
-Dhikr is connected to beauty and self-restraint, dhikr has baraka in it that restrains us but also demands us to work hard and restrain ourselves because we must watch what accompanies it, and what best accompanies it is what is beautiful

33. The inward istighfar comes before the tahlil; the outward one after it.
-Imam Junayd has said that tawhid is not the first thing needed to convert to Islam, but rather humility and putting down one’s pride is needed first

42. Takbir is insincere when louder than istighfar.
-We love to say Takbir loudly as if we have something to be proud of but we have more to repent for

59. Dhikr and electricity are deadly rivals.
-Electricity powers the distractions of the dunya today while dhikr powers the growth of the soul

7. Bless him, and you will travel to the secret of the Names.
-Salawat an-Nabi is said by the sufis to subsume the Names of Allah in their dhikr and effects

Actions of the Heart

34. You are your intentions.
-The virtue of good deeds is mostly in their intentions, more so than in their performance

35. There is no inaction, so long as consciousness remains.
-Elsewhere AHM mentions that there is no dhikr without consciousness

82. Nothing is difficult, except in our thoughts.
-We think something to be far more difficult than it actually is and this is the trap of cognition, you can over-think something and do so very often but very rarely do you see someone over-doing something

24. You may hold open the furnace door; but it is God Alone who blows out the fires consuming your heart.
-We may strive with great effort to change ourselves but the actual change will come from Allah, we do have a science of cause and effect in our spirituality, but in reality the cause is Allah
-In the past some people who the shaykhs struggled to transformed would later be transformed in an instant

17. The believer has faith as his companion, and hope in his destination. The ignorant man has neither, yet he still seeks joy.
-Arab proverb: ‘He who has hope has everything’

94. Look within, and what is outside you will become clear. Look around you, and you will understand yourself.
-The inter-relationship between the zahir and the batin, what they tell each other and how they circumscribe each other
-When we look inside we see what is important in the world, when we look at the world we see what is important to our souls

82. Fasl: Calmness lies on the other side of your tasks. Wasl: Your tasks are your calmness.
-You may decide that once your prayer or fasting is over then you will be calm, but really you will only find the calm in those acts of worship
-This can also apply to the workplace where you must get some calm from your work
-Fasl is connected to zahir and Wasl is connected to the batin

72. If you wish to excel at your work, consecrate it to God.
-Actions such as praying Istikhara or 2 rakah nafl to put blessing in it, doing it while fasting or while making dhikr

-AHM says in one of his papers: The Qur’an itself speaks of those purely exoteric beings who ‘are like asses, carrying scrolls.’ (Qur’an, 62:5)
-The Muslim today is not much to look at, outwardly but inwardly its a very different story. AHM says in one of his speeches that we are like a graveyard where there is not much to look at but there is a great deal going with glimpses of the Heaven, Hell and the punishment of the grave

85. The shallow always dries up.
-The spiritual world is always compared to an ocean but the physical world is very shallow and carries little nourishment for the soul

22. Exoterism cannot see that nothing is strong enough to limit His self-disclosures.
-People who deny the spiritual and baraka don’t really realize Who they are dealing with but they may never find out because, Allah says in a hadith qudsi, ‘’I am in the opinion of my believing servant’

20. The failures of exoterism are not usually the victories of esoterism.
-Usually when the exoteric aspect fails it takes down the esoteric aspect along with it

68. The esoteric made exoteric becomes an exoteric argument against the esoteric.
-The zanni made qat’i becomes a qat’i argument against the zanni, or the probable made definitive becomes the definitive argument against the probable

19. Failure is God’s punishment for exoterism.
-Exoterism means a lack of inward actions, especially a lack of sabr

97. Without the inward whom can we worship? The Outwardly Manifest?
-If there is no spirituality then how outward can we be? How outward can God be? Is there Transcendence or Immanence then?
-AHM says that the sacred is the idea that the world can be more than itself

-We have female Awliya but often they too are often referred to as men (rajul)

35. Approach the teacher as the comet approaches the sun.
-As comets approach the sun they develop enormous tails which for us means one should leave things behind and lose some of oneself

47. The teacher exists to teach you the importance of what you have transcended.
-He teaches you rahma and wisdom and does not make you proud of being better than those who are in a state that you used to be in

65. Rejoice most highly when the Teacher’s command is hard.
-A difficult command may be a short-cut on the spiritual path

92. Who is a shaykh? One who recognises that his life will soon be over.
-Their is a saying of Hasan al-Basri that ‘He who remembers death (at least) 20 times a day is one of the Awliya’

75. The saint’s belief that he is bound for hell is his halo.
-It is belief and conviction, not mere passing thought that he is fighting against a hellfire

36. A good teacher always feels guilty.
-They are always apologizing for shortcomings and seeing others as better
-AHM mentions that if they give you a gift they will apologize that its not the best they could do and are generally never satisfied with themselves

38. If you have not seen the saint, you have not seen the Sunna.
-The Sunna and Wilaya are commensurate to one another

84. Learn from the Law in the saint alone.
-The awliya imbibe the Sunna and Sharia, in ways they themselves may not notice

41. The theologian proves the second shahada from the first. The saint proves the first shahada from the second.
-The theologian proves that Muhammad is a Prophet of God by appeal to God, whereas the awliya prove God’s existence and magnificence through the Prophet and his Seerah (salallahu alayhi wasalam)
-Knowing Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi waslam) makes one believe in God

41. The scientist discloses matter, the jurist discloses ethics. But their shared beauty can only be disclosed by the Teacher.
-The connection between matter and ethics, is known by the Awliya, and they understand the kharq al-adat (the breaking of the norms of God’s Sunna)

83. The saint is the father of deception, for he perfectly emulates the veil of the asbab.
-The awliya or the murshid is a veil of the divine, He does little more than pray for the student as Allah is the One who really guides

85. The saint is a mediator to the extent that he demonstrates the omnipotence of God.
-The awliya are not in themselves great, but great in connection to Allah
-They are a manifestation of Divine Power

42. The Teacher knows that only the tedious is forbidden.
-To get tied up with the dull and boring will distant people, so Allah teaches us by continually giving us new trials and tests
-Our teachers give us dignity in our tasks and do not tire us with dry boring tasks
-What is tedious often results in little benefit

55. The profane see the windmill, the saints see the wind.
-The saint sees the unseen and does not need signs or indications

50. The Teacher does not love the disciple because the disciple serves the Teacher. The Teacher loves the disciple because his service reveals understanding of the Way.
-The Awliya are teaching in order to share the blessing as the hadith says, ‘He is not a believer who does love for his brother what he loves for himself’
-The Awliya have no ego in their teaching and have a totally different attitude we find difficult to understand

51. When the Teacher moves beyond the curtain of death, the signs become fainter; they are instructing you to watch for them more carefully.
-When the Awliya pass on to the next world, they like the martyrs and Prophets are still alive in a spiritual sense, as the hadith related to Isra wa’l Miraj relate,
-What this means is we should observe carefully to see their appearances

46. The saint is the one whose love reminds you of your most recent sin.
-He/She reminds you of God and provokes in you the fear of God

62. The saint’s servitude makes him greater than the heavens and the earth.
-The saint may not seem a servant but his/her tarbiya is his servanthood

80. Truth is proven in the diversity of saints.
-AHM says most of the Awliya are non-Arab and this proves that Truth is present everywhere

75. Without the saint, the accumulation of matter will kill us.
-A world without spirituality will drown us in a sea of materialism

41. The saint is serious, but not judgmental; the false Salafi is judgmental, but not serious.
-The difference between acting from wisdom and acting from nafs

85. A saint is anyone who teaches you the meaning of wudu’.
-Wudu has many meanings, some of its purposes are being the key to prayer, a purification and a method to cool one’s anger so it is an aid as well as a cure

43. By their selflessness they take you from yourself to Himself.
-The journey from the nafs to Him
-There is no distance between you and Him, but it is all about removing the nafs

59. The Shaykh’s cosmic gift to you is the opportunity to serve him.
-Their are effects in khidma to the pious, Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi once said that those who serve the Awliya will be granted children who will become ‘ulema

60. If you disobey the Teacher, you have told him of your admiration for the tiny.
-The Awliya call us to Allah and what is magnificent while we may still admire things of the dunya and if we cling onto those things, so disobedience of the Awliya translates to a clinging to the dunya

90. The saint only leaves the bridal chamber on his beloved’s account. (‘I am his hand wherewith he smites.’)
-The Awliya are hidden and only come out with permission from Allah and His Rasul (salallahu alayhi wasalam)
-al haqqu awliya khafa’ – the right of the Awliya is obscurity
-AHM mentions the Awliya are the anti-chamber of the sacred, the barzakh between this world and the next and a manifestation of the jalal and jamal

97. If you are not a saint, everything is your fault.
-Allah sends mercy into the world through the Awliya while it is the sins which cause problems for the Muslims as a whole because we must be purified
-’This ummah has mercy on it, it has no punishment in the Next, but its punishment is in this world with fitan, earthquakes and killing’ (Hadith)

8. No-one is more extroverted than the contemplative saint.
-The Awliya are actively involved in this world and not isolated
-The Awliya see everything, even the inner is made manifest to them so their extroversion sees all that is introverted


-AHM mentions in one of his speeches how we try to become the living with dhikr and reforming our souls, that we Muslims are essentially ‘halves’ walking around

24. Suluk is a sostenuto, not a tenor clef.
-Endurance and sustaining the rigor of the spiritual journey

26. Sufism is the way of God wherever Islam is the way of God.
27. Islam is the way of God wherever Sufism is the way of God.
-There is no separation between the two
-‘Every Law unsupported by mystical truth is unacceptable; likewise every mystical truth unsupported by the Law’ (al-Qushayri)

99. Suluk is untying the knot; jadhb is cutting it.
-Jadhb or the way of Love is the fast-track to God

32. Sufism is uncastrated Sunnism.
-It is a Sunnism that requires a bold courage and to use a reproductive metaphor is fertile to give birth to the Sunnism of the next generation

82. Khalwa is quarantine.
-In retreat you are not saving yourself from others evil, but saving others from your evil actions

65. A tariqa carries fare-paying passengers. If they will not pay, it should not continue as a railway preservation society.
-There is no free-ride; one must sacrifice in order to continue on the way, otherwise the tariqa is just cultural heritage

92. Guilt is a warning.
-The hadith, ‘astafti qalbik, listen to your heart’ is relevant
-It may be a sign of a punishment or purification to come, or it may actually precede a sinful act

74. Seek, and you will be found.
-Seek Allah and He will send someone to find you

74. Tariqa: peer with peers to find a pir; a pir appears.
-In the process of searching for Awliya alongside peers and friends, you discover Awliya perhaps even amongst your peers

60. You will only choose the right tariqa when you realise in what sense it does not matter which tariqa you choose.
-You do not choose the tariqa, but the tariqa chooses you
-The tariqa itself is a veil behind which Allah is the real Actor

23. Why ‘spirituality’? Because muraqaba makes the ritual into the spy-ritual.
-A play on words with spy-ritual/spiritual, as muraqaba is a surveillance over the heart and thereby creates a stronger connection of the heart to our ibadat

29. If you think you do not deserve God’s punishment, you may not deserve His tribulation.
-If you are arrogant Allah may simply abandon you with worldly pleasures to delude you

100. You cannot arrive by making an effort, but you cannot arrive without making an effort.
-One must make an effort but it is not the effort that makes on arrive but rather it is Allah witnessing the effort and accepting it and guiding you

24. Knowledge is to see the door. Penitence is to approach it. Prayer is to knock upon it. But to open it is not within your power.
-It takes knowledge to realize there is a door, repentance brings us closer to it, and prayer is to knock on it, but the ‘opening’ comes only from Allah

66. The Sufi is he who makes God’s slaves love the Law.
-Fiqh precedes spirituality and is tied up with it

10. Knowers know in the way that flowers flow.
-It is in their nature or the flowers in the garden flow with the wind?

50. The beginner resents being laughed at. The wayfarer forgives those who laugh. The Arriver laughs with them, long and loud.
-The shrinking of the ego as a measure of spiritual progress and achievement

99. Initiation is to realise the lightness of the Law.
-Bayah is an acceptance of the Sharia and a finding of assistance in the observance of the Law

12. Our faces are a prediction.
-Firasa and Nur are being hinted at here

24. Paradise is occupied mainly by the stupid and the Sufis.
-AHM is fond of referring to a hadith that states ‘Most of the people of paradise are simple-minded (or in AHM’s translation: foolish) people’
-So if we aren’t foolish or simple-minded, then we must try to be like the Sufis, but in Paradise everybody has become a Sufi as AHM mentions

87. No-one is suited to tariqa. Tariqa is suited to everyone.
-There is no free-ride but it is like a gym in that it is open to everyone since we all have the same spiritual anatomy but have to work to tone it

15. Beware the word that is an excuse for not making dhikr.
-On what basis can we excuse ourselves from dhikr?
-Some say doing Qur’anic calligraphy or other acts that relate to dhikr is a valid excuse for missing one’s daily dhikr (wird)

48. The internal, not the external, reaches the eternal.
-The external is limited, we know we can’t reach that far in the real world but we do not know the limits of the internal world

44. A paradox: the showing of light is usually covert.
-Spiritual theophanies are not visible to everybody so the light is an intimate experience

84. Haqiqa justifies tariqa; tariqa justifies shari‘a.
-’Hold fast to the Rope of Allah altogether’ (Qur’an)

3. But for Sufism, religion would be just another form of self-esteem.
-The religion would not amount to little more than tribalism, ego and a feel-good sentimentality

14. Only they who underestimate Shari’a despise Tariqa.
-They don’t see the nobility and lofty status of the Shari’a so why would they see any virtue in Tariqa?

53. Love of the saints is the proof of religion and of religiosity.
-Love of the righteous believers is a proof of true religiosity

81. To grow in the spirit, and not to grow in the need to pretend not to be what one is, is a contradiction that closes the Way.
-This one is confusing but I think it means to grow spiritually and to not want to be more authentic to one’s spiritual potential is a contradiction

73. Lust before lustrations. Fast before frustrations.
-Lust before purifications and Fasting before we are frustrated by our appetites
-We must sin before we are purified but we must exert ourselves before our sins overtake us
-Frustrations are related to purification because they purify us if we bear them with sabr

16. Only if the body is the temple of the spirit does the veil not belong to the high priest.
-There is no high priest in the temple of the spirit

97. ‘Down to Gehenna, or up to the Throne,
He travels the fastest who travels alone.’ (Kipling)
-We must journey with righteous company as Islam began in a community, not in isolation and hence the necessity of a tariqa or friendship with righteous brethren

76. The Sunna is suluk, for the Divine Other may only be intuited. ‘Perception does not attain Him, but He attains perception.’
-Following the sunna is a sign of progress on the journey to God

25. Without Law we can make no ablution from our sins; but without Spirit there is no water.
-Water has a purifying effect on our psychology and there are research studies that confirm that fact and yet it is the Sharia that makes the washing of water sacred

9. ‘Leave the ghazal, look into the azal.’ (Rumi)
-Leave the flirtatious love, look into the eternity,
-Ghazal in this context would refer to flirtation with beauty of this world I suppose
and look into eternity which refers to the essence behind the beauty in this world

61. Jaza’ at-talaqi yawm at-talaqi.
-The rewards for meetings is on the Day of meeting (day of judgement)

2. Without the ilm al-hal we will mistake imhal for ihmal.
-Without the ilm al-hal (knowledge of states) we will mistake imhal (neglect) for ihmal (carelessness).

-Qur’an: ”Hast thou considered him who takes his lusts (hawa) for his god?”
-AHM uses the

86. The greatest achievement of the ego is to make virtue unattractive.
-Imam Ali or one of the sufis said: ’The legacy of the company of evil men is to think evil of the good’

13. Hawa: the wind of fancy.
-A breeze that comes and disappears on a whim
-Desires are vapid and immaterial in their substantiation

19. Your nafs will never receive exactly what it wants.
-The nafs has very bad vision and even worse coordination

72. The body cannot overcome the nafs, because the nafs is bigger than it.
-No mater how much one consumes or tries to satisfy the nafs, the body will just become fatigued
-Ibada is not nearly as fatiguing as following the nafs

65. Inequality is from the nafs alone.
-Me, myself and I, anna anna, ‘nafsi nafsi’
-Righteousness is selflessness because we can guide and intercede on Qiyama for others

28. The nafs is anxiety and agitation. The Spirit is the breath of peace. (‘So give good news to My servants!’)
-Status anxiety upon seeing what Allah has given to the disbelievers
-Qur’an 18:28 “And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.”

18. Self-control makes you a fortress; self-indulgence makes you an animal, either a riding-beast or a target.
-No one can control or penetrate you if you have self-control, and be self-indulgent and your desires will repeatedly use and abuse you as you let your ‘ego run rampant’ as Abdal Hakim Murad says in one of his talks

29. Nafs is a comedian. So enjoy your Sufism!
50. The road to God is paved with laughter at the self. The road to Hell is paved with laughter at others.
-The nafs and the tricks it plays on us is something to be laughed at, since it will become frustrated.
-Laughing at others and mocking them does not benefit oneself and leaves a void

100. Only religion allows people to be magnificent without egotism.
-We are truly magnificent for other worldly reasons, in everything else our ego is operating
-Religion is a ‘no-ego zone’

99. A little worship with sincerity is all of religion; abundant worship for the sake of one’s image of oneself is nothing at all.
-”So woe to those who pray [But] who are heedless of their prayer – Those who make show [of their deeds]” (Qur’an, 107:4-5)

52 ‘The true soldier is an enemy to the beast in man.’ (Montgomery of Alamein.)
-Discipline and knowing your enemy are marks of a true soldier

44. Show yourself yourself; then He will show Himself Himself.
-Imam Ali: ‘He who knows himself, knows His Lord’

81. Nothing is more dangerous than the ego wearing the robes of the spirit.
-A charlatan sufi and false teacher, much like Firawn which are hard to spot
-Often the true teacher is humble and always apologizing to you unnecessarily

5. Because of self there is suffering.
-Theodicy or the problem of evil is not so much a problem if the self is eliminated
-Our self-importance and pride is what makes suffering feel like an injustice, either way we can be manipulated equally by pleasure or pain

94. Laziness is its own chastisement.
-Our laziness impairs us and makes it hard for us to achieve what we really need to achieve
-What we know we should do but aren’t, haunts us and stands over our shoulders bearing down on us

50. Today the rigidity that comes from the spirit and not from the ego is rare indeed.
-Softness is not the only thing the spirit produces, the spirit too can be rigorous and severe

67. Walk through the zoo within; check the locks; enjoy the sight of each brute; know that they are your self.
-Study your nafs and its manifestations
-Imam Ghazali uses a number of metaphors and in the Old world certain animals manifested certain attributes (i.e. the fox was cunning, the pig was sloth, etc.)

22. Dreams do not illustrate the nafs so surely as daydreams.
-Dreams and the subconscious only indicate margins of our thoughts, that weren’t given much attention while awake but daydreams, and the places and scenarios our mind flees to in the day are the retreat and hiding spot of the nafs

88. Do not treat the world as though you were its centre.
21. The world is most damaged by those who have the highest opinion of themselves.
-We subjugate the world to our opinions rather than subjugate our opinions to reality

74. ‘The fact that it is so difficult for present-day man to pray and the fact that it is so difficult for him to carry on a genuine talk with his fellow men are elements of a single set of facts.’ (Buber)
-We have become so self-centered, self-absorbed and lonely that we are out of touch with each other

28. The voracious cannot be veracious.
-Those who have no self-restraint cannot be truthful because they are lying to themselves

52. Khawarij are full of hawa.
-Sloganeering and manipulating Islam to their ends
-One of the practices of the Khawarij is that they never recited surah Yusuf in prayer because they thought it was merely a story

38. We are divided from the other world by the thinnest of membranes, which we hang with mirrors.
-The veils of the unseen are hidden behind the ego and nafs

The Other

83. Demonising the Other is from the harshnesses of the self.
-Attacking others is one of the most blatant manifestations of the nafs
-Often when the question of the Other comes up, in conjunction with demonisation it is really just an idea, history always shows that the Other is not much different from oneself

57. To be reminded of the greed of others and the poverty of the self is to be reminded of the poverty of others and the greed of the self.
-We are impoverished spiritually because of the greed of our nafs and when we see the greed of others what we really are seeing is a type of jealousy
-Something could be said here also about the poverty of aspiration

89. We should be reluctant to forgive reluctance to forgive. Rigour and mercy circumscribe each other.
-We shouldn’t make excuses for people who make excuses for not forgiving
-Sometimes being merciful with others means being hard on oneself

20. We need less self-righteousness and more self-knowledge.
-Self-righteousness comes from righteous actions, so AHM is using the ilm/amal dichotomy to the self, but when it comes to amal of the self, knowing ourselves is true amal (righteous action)

71. ‘The hypocrite looks for faults; the believer looks for excuses.’ (Imam al-Ghazali)
-In what areas if our lives do we not apply this as much as we should?
-‘O ye who believe! When ye are told to make room in the assemblies spread out and make room: Ample room will Allah provide for you.’ (Qu’ran, 58:11)

20. Govern the Self before you govern the Other. Govern the Other in order to govern the Self.
-We need to have some restraint before we encounter the Other
-If we are dealing with someone who is an Other (a different race or religion) then we must be careful in governing the movement of our feelings and thoughts and ensure we are compassionate and train ourselves to do so
-AHM may be referring to purification that is needed before conquest and how Muslims dealt with people of other religions, dealing with them with mercy and tolerance as the Qur’an commands was something hard on the ego

2. To blame others for our misfortunes is always a victory for the nafs .
-You are letting the nafs get off free and it will repeat this offense

64. Discourtesy always resembles a failure.
-Rude behaviour always misses the mark, it tries to sound strong but is just embarrassing

88. Some look for vengeance, some look for repentance.
-Scenario: The victim seeks vengeance against the criminal who wishes to repent or the criminal seeks vengeance while the victim is ready to forgive
-Some will have a punishment implemented for a crime, while others will not in hopes of gaining To the Divine pleasure

19. Those that are angry with everyone will end up believing in nothing.
-Anger is an enemy to iman and belief

79. Judge people by the extent to which they are alive.
-’God calls you to that which gives life’ (Qur’an)
-Judge people to the extent they are in dhikr

45. Others are our fellow-travellers, even if they have lost the road.
-We still need be courteous to those who may have gone astray, perhaps they may find the path

44. Despair not of those who are drawn to ugliness, for they too are probing the mysteries.
-People are learning and it takes time and chances are there was a time when we too explored the ugly areas of life
-Umberto Eco has written on how ugliness is more fascinating than beauty and that may be part of its distraction

62. Do not say: Do you agree with me? but say: Do we agree?
-The use of pronouns and proximity in negotiationg and resolving conflict

25. Forget not the Other in the Brother.
-Hadith: ‘You will not believe, until you love one another’

13. ‘Never despise any Muslim, for the least of the Muslims is great in the eyes of God.’ (Abu Bakr al-Siddiq r.a.).
-An anticipatory vaccine against the sicknesses that would come to plague the ummah.

28. Those who look for sin often strengthen it.
-They aren’t looking for good so they can’t repair anything, they search but can’t rescue
-AHM remarks in one of his lectures that its the aynal hasud, the eye of jealousy that seeks out the faults of others
-al hasud, la yasud the jealous never rises

50 Criticism is infectious.
-Don’t expect that your criticism will not lead to people criticizing you
-‘Beware whenest thou rants unto ye gale, lest ye become bespotted with thine own spittle.’ (Shakespeare)

37. Religion is not difficult; we are difficult.
-As in, ‘you are being difficult to put up with’
-What obstacles do we put up against God? Why is it so hard to give way to God?

90. If you fail to pelt the pillars you can only pelt the pilgrims.
-When you are pelting the pillars on Hajj if you miss, you will hit the people behind them, this is an ayat as to how we should be careful we don’t hurt our fellow brothers and sisters in our quest to put down shaytan

80. If you are good, pretend to be bad. If you are bad, don’t pretend to be good.
-Don’t delude yourself, be as you are so as to see yourself clearly

Sloth (Or Acedia)
-This is a complacency and laziness of the soul being negligent of Allah, and is well-established idea in Christian morality

3. This sin of the Muslim world: menefregismo.
-Meaning the Muslim world couldn’t care less what people think of us, or what Allah thinks of us

55. Haste is usually the consequence of sloth, not of diligence.
-The hadith at-tajeel minsash-shaytan, haste is from shaytan is relevant here
-When people are praying quickly it is usually not a sign of diligence but of sloppiness,
but being diligent in prayer is in slowness and concentration

6. Those who are indifferent to their reputations may still be slothful, gluttonous.
-The sufis can still fall into the trap of sloth, even if they have no care for their reputations it is sloth for them to not have hayya or to fall for an antinomianism

87. Do not be complacent. Most people judge religions by their followers, not by their doctrines.
-If people see that we are complacent then they will think that we Muslims are not actually good followers of our religion

100. Faith is a tender shoot; water it with works, parch it with apathy.
-How much apathy and how much works are required to alter one’s iman?

54. Nothing brings less ease than sloth.
-Putting off a prayer for later actually gives you more stress because you are constantly thinking about it but if you simply go and pray it, its ease for you

-Cautiousness and being careful

49 Do not equate wara‘ with fastidiousness.
-Being difficult to satisfy, or being too exact and picky is not wara’, its deprival
-‘Make things easy for people’ (Hadith)

15. Wara’ is the shift from fear to hope.
-Scrupulousness and caution in giving up the permissible or the makruh, takes one from worrying to safety.
-One has done as much as they possibly can and therefore, has every right to hope, though fear may still linger.

69. Wara‘ today is the scrupulous avoidance of narrowmindedness.
-Too many are not cautious about becoming narrow-minded when they should be
-It is one thing to avoid the grey areas, it is another to limit the grey areas

-Decadence as Abdal Hakim Murad uses the word has many broad meanings, here I have applied it to consumerism, entertainment, drugs, greed and other modern problems with materialism. He, however, also appropriately applies the idea to religious issues; extremism, excess decoration of mosques beyond the scope of beauty, being unrealistically demanding of the Ahlul Kitab are also forms of decadence AHM refers to.

73. It’s called the consumer society because it consumes us.
-What aspects of us is it consuming? What of us has it already consumed?

75. ‘Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean I’d love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.’ (Mariah Carey)
-Here is an example of the perversion of decadence and how it radically alters howwe seetheworld
-AHM is showing us how people see the good and the bad, according to their own interpretation and how we come to desire our own destruction

52. Television is hellish vision because it robs us of the sense of truth.
-Again, it is decadence to let others decide for you

1. ‘Buying is much more American than thinking.’ (A. Warhol)
-We buy so others may think more of us, though often they think more they don’t know exactly what to think

14. Opium is the religion of the masses.
-A response to Marx’s, ‘religion is the opium of the masses’ since now religion has very little role in Western society, while drugs and narcotics are taken to cause all sorts of pseudo-spiritual experiences

36 Capitalism: the law of the jungle that destroys the jungle.
-AHM completes the ‘law of the jungle’ idea, survival of the fittest only works when there is a place to survive in

51. Censorship of the press is less subversive than censorship by the press.
-We live in an Orwellian age, where once the press produced truth that was suppressed now the press does not even produce that truth but is merely a courtier for government and commercial interests

53. Popular culture dwells in deep pockets.
-Most of the culture of the West has to do with money
-When Christian Lauder, (who wrote ‘Stuff White People Like’) was praised for representing ‘white culture’ he replied, ‘This isn’t a culture, its a shopping list!’

33. Modern holidays: the nafs will heal the ruh!
-We devote more time to the nafs expecting it to magically do something to make us feel better

79. Global warming is from the gases of our indigestion.
-We have consumed too much as a society. The societal appetite has impaired our societies but also our planet

26. Climate change: ‘And We coin similitudes for mankind, that perhaps they may reflect.’
-AHM is saying Global warming, is as if, a metaphor of a Jahannum to come

32. The smarter the hotel, the less comfortable the Muslim.
-They way hotels are structured for comfort and ease, in which Muslims are not comfortable because they are temporary places, not unlike the dunya

55. The lottery: a way of exploiting the weak-willed in order to reward the undeserving.
-Better explained by the Contention 56. The lottery: a tax on stupidity.

69. The justification of alcohol: those without self-control must pay for the pleasures of those with self-control.
-If you are silly enough to be duped then it is at your expense and to the benefit of those who aren’t

36. Holidays: they think their bodies are solar-powered.
-Going to a sunny part of the world, like a beach, as if it will recharge you when perhaps it may drain you and make you lose more energy when you return

72. ‘Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life’. (Brooke Shields)
-It is as if she is brain dead already and already lost a very important part of her life

7. To switch on a television is to acknowledge one’s own lack of refinement.
-AHM is appealing to our sense of individuality and excellence, as watching television teaches us nothing about sensibilities, etiquette and taste
-Cultural refinement is an interesting concept because who can be more refined than Allah in what He likes and dislikes?

73. Luxury will persuade you that you are not a psychopath.
-The more luxurious we are the more we indulge, until we find ourselves indulging in dark humour that is toxic to our soul

-Compare this section to the Decadence section
-AHM says in one of his speeches: “poverty that breaks the back of the human spirit is of the devil, but the poverty that breaks the back of the ego is of God.”

84. Zuhd is to make the soul feel at home in the body.
-When you have few distractions the soul is much more comfortable and at ease, it is not displaced by material desires and the nafs

85. How much asceticism do you need?
-It is not merely to do zuhd but to know its effects, and it is on a need basis so we need as much as will purify us spiritually and then we need more to make sure we remain so
-‘The first virtues of this umma are zuhd and yaqin, the first sins are miserliness and vain hopes’ (Hadith)

57. To be proud of luxury is a sin, but to be proud of disdaining it is worse by far.
-To be proud of zuhd is not to have zuhd because pride is worse than zuhd, but also because it is harder to cure

92. Today it is hard to achieve zuhd through poverty.
-The idea of zuhd is for the heart to be empty of what the hand is empty of, but today the poverty that exists is not a moderate poverty but a exteme desperate poverty of survival
-Combined with an era of materialism, there is plenty to desire in the poverty so today the hand is empty but the heart is not and the eye and stomach are desirous, so it just may be better to content oneself with wealth
-The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) feared poverty of this kind because it would lead to disbelief

50. The more we have, the less we are.
-We shrink in comparison to our desires, we become absent and God becomes even more absent

77. ‘Everything in the world is yours, until and unless you try to grab it and keep it for yourself alone.’ (Pickthall.)
-This relates to greed, Warren Buffet Sr. mentioned in a recent documentary that the wealthy owe something to society for allowing them to succeed so they should give back as much as they can and help society

94. Only when distant from God do we crave what is distant from God.
-And only when we are close to God do we crave what is close to God

93. Self-limitation allows you to find your character.
-Consumerism makes us wonder, ‘what purchases define me?’ when really that is a very paralyzing question and often we trick ourselves by mindlessly following the trends
-If you limit your self you can more closely observe your true personality, your soul, and spiritual states and focus on improving it

57 ‘He who binds to himself a joy, doth the winged life destroy;
He who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity’s sunrise.’ (Blake.)
-If we hoard and cling to pleasures then we ruin them but when we make shukr for them and let them go we let them wait for us in Jannah

-The meaning of the word dunya is something lowly or brought low, and as the Hadith states in the sight of Allah it does not even have the value of the wing of a fly

83. The Ka’ba has a positive charge; we are negative. Dunya, however, is an efficient insulator.
-There should be sparks in our ibada but dunya resists the current of baraka
-This is related to another Contention: Dhikr and electricity are deadly rivals.

14. The delight of each worldly pleasure does not last long.
-Desires are never satisfied or fulfilled, rather they collapse and vanish

4. There is no true engagement without detachment.
-Being encumbered by the world will always get in the way
-Compromise is the price of engaging people and sacrifice is the price of engaging God

75. Because we are worldly we are worldless.
-This world is not permanent but is vanishing, so we shouldn’t be building our home on a bridge that will collapse

77. Your property belongs to you if you belong to God. If you belong to Satan you belong to your property.
-If we turn to Allah in repentance He will give us but if we turn to materialism then shaytan will subjugate us

19. Flight into self is a retreat from the facticity of the world; flight into heaven is its affirmation.
-If we flee into spirituality it will help us flee into Paradise
-The Quran asks us ‘Fa’ayna tadh-habun – where are you going?’

23. Dunya: a little Gentleness, and much Rigour. The fitra: a little Rigour and much Gentleness
-In the dunya we face a great deal of difficulty, harshness and rigidity if we grow old, but if we die in our infancy we face a little rigour and harshness but receive a great deal of gentleness from those around us and from Allah

12. Reverence is the opposite of reverie.
-The difference between awe and partying

5. The world is iconic, or it is ironic.
-The world is either about images and exalts itself, or it is ironic and therefore unexpected denies and contradicts itself in that what is superficial in it varies from what is underneath and the world is really not about itself

-AHM says in one of his essays Muhasaba is a term in the Sunna: ‘Call yourselves to account before you yourselves are called to account.’ And the ulema say that the first step in tawba is muhasaba.

18. Muhasaba: you will not move forwards until you look backwards.
-The adage ’Those who don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them’

62. Nothing succeeds like circumspection.
-Muhasaba is micro-reform of the soul, Allah has given us the ability to do hisab of ourself
-Those who do hisab of themselves will have an easier reckoning before Allah

88. Govern the thoughts in your head, or else you’ll walk around dead.
-Thoughts are like citizens, interact with them and they will continue to give you good or ignore them and they won’t give you anything

65. Nothing is not a test of tawakkul.
-Everything is a test of our trust and reliance in Allah
-Doing nothing is not a test of our trust and reliance in Allah

88. Tawakkul: the lock, as well as the key, is a revelation.
-The difficulty as well as how to approach it is from God, and so we have all the more reason to place our trust and resignation in Him

56. Trust in God, not in your trust in God.
-Don’t turn tawakkul into a means (sabab)
70. Pay attention, and trust in God.
-Perhaps an interpretation of the hadith, ‘Tie your camel and place your trust in God’

71. Know that your plans are written on water.
-Allah is the Planner, not us, so even if we trust in Allah and things don’t seem to be going the way we were hoping then remember that what Allah has planned for you no one can take it away and it is better for you

-Many verses one can refer to such as ‘innala ma’as-sabirin, Allah is with the patient ones’ and ‘to seek aid with patience and prayer’
-Sabr sometimes means fasting and this is its most practical manifestation

48 Which is greater: His patience, or your impatience?
-As impatient as we are, Allah’s patience with us, is greater, He is as-Sabur

8. Our patience is the awaiting of delights for us. His patience is the awaiting of delights for us.
-We are waiting for Jannah, but Allah is also waiting for us to come to Jannah
-This is remarkable if you think about it because Allah is beyond time, and so even His patience transcends time

73. He who says, ‘I am patient’, is not patient.
-’Lord grant me patience and I want it now!’

90. It is easier to preach on vengeance than on patience.
-Patience in dealing with anger and the place of patience in geo-politics, where we seek revenge rather than be patient

-The atomism of ni’m (blessings) that in every aspect of life we are grateful for there are more aspects for us to be grateful for
-We could coin a word, Omnigracious or Omnigiving for the blessings Allah continually bestows upon us
-The importance of shukr as the basis for our worship, is when the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) is asked why he prays so much even though God has already forgiven him, and he replies, “Afala akunu abdan shakura? Shall I not be a grateful servant?”

78. Give thanks for the tangible, that you may give thanks for the intangible.
-Once we start making shukr for the physical objects and blessings our mind will lead us to give thanks for the unseen, the Divine Decree and the coming of blessings but also give thanks for good intentions amongst us or the protection from harm not befalling us

99. Which is it, of the blessings of your Lord, that you deserve?
-A play on words on the repeated verse of Surah ar-Rahman, Which of the blessing of your Lord will you deny?
-Here shukr is combined with humility and justice. We are by no means entitled to these blessings they are from His sheer grace and reflect very little about us

77. Good architecture is to promote thankfulness.
-Mosque architecture should be beautiful so as to prompt our hearts to be thankful

100. For which is He more to be praised: for His blessings, or for His forbearance in the face of our refusal to give thanks for them?
-There is no comparison between the number of blessings He bestows upon us
-’If you tried to ennumerate the blessings of Allah, you would find no end’ (Qur’an)

21. Ritual is nothing but thankfulness, or it is nothing.
-If we see our ritual ibadat as nothing more than a lip-service or a formality it is nothing
-Thanking Allah with salah is thanking Allah with what He is to be thanked for

96. There is Bliss, and there are consolations.
-There is Jannah and there is comfort before arrival to it

5. Faith is not a given, it is given.
-Islam is bestowed and for this we should give thanks, even if we were raised as Muslims we must discover and strengthen that faith

77. It is better to appreciate what you do not have than to have what you do not appreciate.
-For example, my appreciating not being sick is better than for me to have a meal that I do not give thanks for, since in the first there is reward and possibility of being given more good health while in the second there is no guarantee of the continual of that blessing nor good deed
-Sometimes being free of something is much better than having something

62. What is the situation in which gratitude is inappropriate?
-There are no situations where gratitude to Allah is inappropriate
-There is even a dua to thank Allah for being able to urinate and defecate without any medical problems

42. Make manifest your thankfulness for what you must conceal.
-Thanks for hiding ones sins and even more thanks for forgiving them

24. We have too many things, and too little gratitude.
-Possessing very few things may lead to more gratitude since, there is greater gratitude in being liberated from ‘things’ but if we possess a great deal we may forget to be grateful

31. It is gratitude that sees beauty.
-When we set our mind to be thankful we come to see beauty in its plentiful manifestations

13. Falah is harvesting what God has done for you, not what you have done for God.
-Success comes when we realize Who has really done all the work for us

5. ‘Blessing’ is a large word, but do not be slow to use it.
-Being quick to use the word blessing is itself a blessing

34. Tawhib yields tardid; taswif yields tawhid.
-Gifting yields to repetition; lending or letting go yields to tawhid (oneness)
in the first half the reference may be that of blessings and shukr, in the second half that Islam means letting go also mentioned in the Contentions later on
-We should celebrate the blessings we receive repeatedly as the Qur’anic command: ‘And the blessings of your Lord celebrate’

42. Grant us to deal with others on the basis of our thankfulness to You.
-Shukr as an operational basis for our mu’amala (interactions) with one another
-We are grateful to be speaking, hearing and being listened to and see this as a manifestation of God’s grace and we honour others as a thankfulness to God

86. The true hearth is gratefulness. (Abraham: ‘Lord …’)
-Shukr warms the heart and soul even when we are in need

Contentment (Rida)

2. Rida is the true freedom.
-Contentment frees and liberates us and there are few things that make us content as much as reading the Qur’an does
This piece I wrote a while back gets at the core of contentment

11. To be resigned is not to resign.
-Giving up is not proper resignation or contentment
-A hadith mentions, as-sabru rida, patience is contentment


-There are two types of generosity, one is to be generous upon being asked to give and the other is being generous voluntarily withou being asked

70. The fanatic is the weak man. Strength is shown in generosity.
-It takes real courage to be generous and to see that generosity is the sight of true strength
-There is a saying (or hadith, I cannot recall) that a believer loves those who do good to them, while a hypocrite hates those who do good to them

10. ‘Greed has been severely underestimated and denigrated, unfairly so, in my opinion.’ (Conrad Black)
-The irony of connecting greed with justice when greed is a form of injustice as the Qur’an: ‘Those who unjustly eat the property of the orphans…’

40. The only safe bank is the Sadaqa Bank.
13. Your wealth is only yours once you have given it away.
-Aisha radiallahu anha narrates that they sacrificed a goat. The Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam asked, “How much is left of it?” She told him that only the shoulder remained. He remarked, “The whole of it is left except the shoulder.” (Tirmidhi)
(commentary: meaning all of the hasanat from it is now in the Akhirah, except the shoulder)


84. Through selflessness we join the world.
-When we are selfish we are confined to ourselves, but when we are selfless we become involved in the world
-Selflessness is something beloved to every person globally
-Better explained in the Contention 13. Servanthood is the mark of humanity.

72. Serve none but a slave.
-We are all slaves and the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) was abad an-nas, the most expressive of slavehood to Allah

4. If you cannot be of the poor, then be with the poor. If you cannot be with the poor, then pray with the poor. If you cannot pray with the poor, then pray for the poor. Beyond this there remains not an atom’s weight of faith.
-In our age we neglect the poor, though the Qur’an repeats over and over the importance of helping the poor

51. Some want to serve, others to deserve.
-Often activists work as if they deserve something, whereas others work only to serve

34. Islam is the crown of the poor.
-There is a hadith that the poor shall enter Jannah 500 years before the rich, and the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam lived poor, wanted to die poor and be raised with the poor and in this way the poor are honoured in Islam
-There is very little to answer to God on the Day of Reckoning if you are poor and you have valid excuses

16. It is only the hungry and unfortunate who may know whether they are good.
-They are struggling and it is because of their dua that Allah keeps the umma continuing

90. Power can be servitude. (‘I am your most high Lord’ .)
-Now Firawn is an example for people and in that way he is serving God’s purposes

90. You will only find yourself if you live for others.
-When we live for ourself we find ourself missing, its not as enjoyable as enjoying a moment with company
-We feel ‘whole’ when we serve others, it fulfills us in a way that is meaningful

-It takes courage to do any good deed, to be generous or to be humble or to evaluate one’s soul

14. It takes courage to bear the consequences of cowardice.
-We associate courage with bravery but if we are cowards it still requires courage afterwards to show face and endure humiliation

-“Of what profit to you were your hoarding and your arrogant ways?” (Qur’an, 7:48)

44. What are you but a lightly-clothed skeleton?
-If you really think about your body in terms of parts, not whole, you have bones which are basically sticks that hold your back up, and prop you up covered up by a gooey fabric we call skin
-We really are not much more different than furniture
-But what makes us great is our spirit and heart

19. Pride is the only sin that cannot fear God. ‘I, even I, am the Proud!’
-There is no fear of God in admitting you are proud

92. Pride is the crown of the ignorant.
-Related to ‘Islam is the crown of the poor’
-Ignorance and pride feed into each other, one becomes proud and self-satisfied because one has no desire for truth and the lack of truth makes one even more proud and self-satisfied

39. The devil within you: vein glory.
-A play on word with vein/vain reference to the hadith that shaytan runs through the blood of man, reminding us of our own innate weakness

52. We grow through self-diminution.
-Reference to the hadith, ‘he who humbles himself, Allah raises in ranks’

61. Islam and the Umma teach us different kinds of humility.
-Islam teaches us humility before God while the Umma teach us humility before man and the dunya, the first is volitional, the second is forced

25. The worst arrogance is the one that yields a sort of humility.
-The idea of false humility, ‘In my humble opinion…’

33. The breadth of the Garden is reached through the narrow door of humility.
-Coming to Allah has to do with putting our ego down and the reference to the door of humility is mentioned by Abdal Qadir al-Jilani that all the doors he found were full of people but the door of humility has no one around it, so he entered it and was raised in ranks

73. Only be proud of your works to the extent that you remember that they are not yours.
-All good is from Allah, and all bad is from ourselves

86. Only make wudu’ if it breaks your pride.
-If I can’t make wudu properly it hurts my pride and I may look silly dripping and creating a mess
-Wudu is a humility-inculcating act

68. Only those who know themselves to be unworthy are worthy.
-I referred to it before, but saying ‘nolo episcopari’ or ‘I do not want to become the bishop’ is one of the ways one becomes a bishop

63. Sufism: don’t think that you can dive without lowering yourself.
-You won’t be able to dive and retrieve pearls without being humble

63. Be still, and know that you are odd.
-We are 1 umma and, we are strangers/ghuraba as the hadith mentions, and we are ajeeb in comparison to many other nations

46. He that struggles to progress, though he has not been shown the road, is better than he that stands upon the road, pridefully mocking.
-’They who strive in our way, We shall surely guide them to our Path’ (Qur’an)

76. The true king admits the beggar first.
-Whoever has the greatest need is shown the most attention, but if we behave as beggars with humility then we will be admitted first

52. Learn that you are the merest shadow of Another’s act; thus you will learn humbleness, which is the beginning of understanding.
-In the scale of creation we are not much more than microbes

-‘On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness will the Most Gracious bestow Love.’ (Qu’ran)

91. The world survives because one may fall out of love with hatred, but one may never fall out of love with love.
-We love to love and we hate to hate
-That there is still love in a world as crowded and jumbled up as ours is a mercy

16. Trying to be loved is not the best way of becoming lovable.
-The Prophetic practice of giving gifts
-’Allah loves those who do good’ (Qur’an)
-Often when we try to be loved, we end up hated or people become jealous of us, but those who are humble and who are zahids attract the love of others

53. Without the law of Love there is no Law at all.
-Sharia operates through our love of God not simply our fear of God

74. With love He shows you that you are rotten. With love, you say: Yes! Yes!
-Anything that comes from God is beloved to us, even if it is regarding our faults
-We should try and think of love from the perspective of God towards us if we want to grow in our love towards Him but also in love towards our fellow man

26. Love is the only cure for the desire to follow the crowd. (‘Khalq-i ‘alam bir yana oldu, bu sheyda bir yana …’)
-An absence of love is a passivity that would make us follow the crowd but we abhore that which goes against the One we love

79. Where there is love there is immanence.
-When we love Allah we can feel His presence around us, just as the Qur’an says that He is closer than the jugular vein, closer to us than us ourselves and life itself

Difficulty and Despair
-AHM often connects despair not with spirituality but with identity politics and how Muslims are dissatisfied struggling as minorities

59. Despair is the worship of necessity.
-the Quran mentions how people only come to beseech Allah in times of need but abandon Him in times of ease
-What is worship without necessity then? Love?
-We worship necessity when we despair over things, but what is necessary and what isn’t?

90. Despair is the only grounds for despair.
-Despair and gratitude come from the same evidence, its just a matter of being selective to what end
-Gratitude is the only grounds for gratitude

20. Pain is nine-tenths of desire.
-It is hard for desires to ever be fully satisfied, there is always something lacking and this is always the source of our pain

82. The ruin of the heart lies in denying the desire for obedience.
-Obeying is at some level a tendency we have in us that needs satisfying, either we obey our nafs, God or others around uss
-Imitation whether we are conscious of it or not is one of the most subtle forms of obedience

50. ‘If the eyes had no tears, the soul would have no rainbow.’ (Minquass proverb)
-Being overly emotional we may lose sight of the rainbows that do appear

58. When heart and body are in harmony, fikr results.
-When we our hearts and body are in harmony together, we think more clearly

15. With God’s secret gift, every hardship becomes easy. Without it, every ease becomes a source of hardship.
-Recalling the greatness of Allah removes hardship in prayer
-What could be the secret gift? Tawakkul? Marifa? Mahaba?

85. Fear not the wind: it will bear your kite high.
-Difficulties raise us in our darajat with Allah, if we are patient and persevere

47. The impermanent cannot be devoid of suffering.
-It will vanish and at the very least their will be anguish at that loss


67. For each karama that takes you forward, there are ten which will take you back.
-AHM mentioned in one of his speeches that the Awliya say, ‘If you see a karama, look away which is often not our first instinct’

18. The miracle of mundanity . (Rembrandt, The Holy Family .)
-‘To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.’ (William Blake)

75. It is not the giving of a karama that transforms; only the manner of its acceptance.
-How do we react to miracles? Do we glory in them? Do we give thanks for them or just ignore them completely as a shameful secret?
-Its really a miracle when it transforms us

16. The real miracle is anything that is not perceived as a miracle.
-Just about everything about our existence is miraculous in their nature, we just don’t perceive at as such

74. Without determinism there can be no miracles.
-Just because the sun rises every day doesn’t mean it will rise the next day but we think the relation between cause and effect is linear and unbreakable, when really it is Allah who is the musabib (Actor)

76. To think of the Teacher is to be offered a karama, so be utterly attentive in watching for it.
-Recollection of our teachers and the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam, especially spontaneously is miraculous because it indicates the transformation of our soul

29. Are there still miracles? Is God still the Omnipotent Bestower?
-In our age we find it hard to believe in miracles but Allah is the One who can bestow miracles regardless of time and space

16. Moderation in miracles: ‘Enter houses by their doors.’
-One miracle of the Awliya is to walk through walls, so even if one had that ability the Qur’anic verse above to enter through the doors would be better

-AHM quotes Imam Murtada al-Zabidi who says in his commentary of the Ihya, ‘al-amalu natijatul akhlaq, actions are the consequences of character’

14. Adab: we must re-member our bodies.
-In one of his talks AHM mentions, akhlaq is related to the word khalaq, creation, so adab is in a sense an extension of our bodies

36. Good adab is to jostle to be first in line for Heaven.
-The heaviest things to be placed in the scales will be fear of god and good character
-Adab is from the sunna of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam)

-AHM mentions that Abdullah ibn Mubarak defines good character as the absence of anger

88. Be attached to God, not to the fruits of your actions.
-Sometimes we want to see a fruit in our actions but we are so caught up thinking about the action we forget the niyya
-Doing an action gently is a sign of having God on your mind and heart

41. Each sin is a consequence.
-Imam Murtada al-Zabidi says in his commentary of the Ihya, ‘al-amalu natijatul akhlaq, actions are the consequences of character’

38. Sin is the refusal of our glorious potential.
-Sin is related to ugliness while husn is related to goodness and beauty

78. Irritation is from sin.
-A sinful desires is like wanting to scratch where it itches but that is a reflex and a first prompting that we shouldn’t fall for

91. The veils of the world must be walked through. The veils of sin must be walked around. (Imam al-Haddad.)
-We must endure the world and have no choice but to walk through it in life, while the various possibilities and routes for sin to manifest must be avoided
-’The veils of’ make this Contention hard for me to understand

43. ‘Whoever thinks about repenting of a sin before he has even committed it is led thereby to fall into it.’ (Imam al-Haddad.)
-We come close to sins, desensitize ourselves to them and minimize our reaction to the sin without realizing it

17. Yielding to a minor sin can be a major sin.
-Look not at the size of the sin but at the one magnificence of the One you are sinning against

38. Do not rejoice at lessons you receive from sin; or at nourishment you find in a rubbish-heap.
-The lessons from sin can be learned only a few times before they become repetitive

95. In deciding whether a desire is a vice, consider whether its satisfaction is honourable.
-Did you feel honoured after you were satisfied or did you feel despicable and ‘used’ by your nafs?

11. ‘Flagrant evils cure themselves by being flagrant.’ (Newman.)
-These evils are embarrassing and so no one wants to repeat them

68. Error is its own punishment.
-There may be a negative consequence from our errors but errors are frustrating in themselves

78. The world is the way it is because you are the way you are.
-Our good/bad deeds affect the mercy that Allah descends upon the world, so the miseries in the world may be in part because of my sins

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, ameen.

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